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This defeat so unnerved people in Rome that they believed the enemy was already advancing to attack the City, and that there was no help to be looked for, no hope of repelling him from their walls and gates.  After one consul had been beaten at the Ticinus the other was recalled from Sicily, and now both consuls and both consular armies had been worsted. What fresh generals, men asked, what fresh legions could be brought to the rescue? Amidst this universal panic Sempronius arrived.  He had slipped through the enemy's cavalry at immense risk while they were dispersed in quest of plunder, and owed his escape rather to sheer audacity than to cleverness, for he had little hope of eluding them or of successful resistance if he failed to do so.  After conducting the elections, which was the pressing need for the moment, he returned to winter quarters. The consuls elected were Cneius Servilius and C. Flaminius.  Even in their winter quarters the Romans were not allowed much quiet; the Numidian horse were roaming in all directions, or where the ground was too rough for them, the Celtiberians and Lusitanians.  They were, therefore, cut off from supplies on every side, except what were brought in ships on the Po. Near Placentia there was a place called Emporium, which had been carefully fortified and occupied by a strong garrison. In the hope of capturing the place, Hannibal approached with cavalry and light-armed troops, and as he trusted mainly to secrecy for success, he marched thither by night. But he did not escape the observation of the sentinels, and such a shouting suddenly arose that it was actually heard at Placentia.  By daybreak the consul was on the spot with his cavalry, having given orders for the legions of infantry to follow in battle formation.  A cavalry action followed in which Hannibal was wounded, and his retirement from the field discomfited the enemy; the position was admirably defended.  After taking only a few days' rest, before his wound was thoroughly healed Hannibal proceeded to attack Victumviae.  During the Gaulish war this place had served as an emporium for the Romans; subsequently, as it was a fortified place, a mixed population from the surrounding country had settled there in considerable numbers, and now the terror created by the constant depredations had driven most of the people from the fields into the town.  This motley population, excited by the news of the energetic defence of Placentia, flew to arms and went out to meet Hannibal.  More like a crowd than an army they met him on his march, and as on the one side there was nothing but an undisciplined mob, and on the other a general and soldiers who had perfect confidence in each other, a small body routed as many as 35,000 men. The next day they surrendered and admitted a Carthaginian garrison within their walls.  They had just completed the surrender of their arms in obedience to orders, when instructions were suddenly given to the victors to treat the city as though it had been carried by storm, and no deed of blood, which on such occasions historians are wont to mention, was left undone, [14??] so awful was the example set of every form of licentiousness and cruelty and brutal tyranny towards the wretched inhabitants. Such were the winter operations of Hannibal.
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